In an engaging article last week, Bob Jones commented about human rights: more specifically, fictitious human rights. Quoting a Dominion Post article declaring that incarcerated crims have a “basic human right to hug their children”, he dissected the nonsensical premise and attracted a flurry of activity from readers.

It would be reasonable to suggest that the whole point of incarcerating crims is to deprive them of their usual “citizens’ rights” — more specifically, the right to be free — and to teach them a lesson while protecting society from them for the duration of their incarceration.

It would also be reasonable to suggest that ALL human rights are indeed fictitious and it may be time for a reminder of that given that just about everybody these days seems to think they have a whole raft of “rights” to a whole raft of things ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous (including the right to be offended by pretty much anything and everything).

But more importantly, we should be under no illusion about how tenuous our hold on our right to rights actually is despite the pretty rhetoric.

The well intended but arguably completely useless United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by some 500 nations back in 1948 set out in 30 Articles, a range of “human” rights we should all be entitled to, just by virtue of the fact that we were born. Some of them are perhaps laudable goals but also ingenuous. Meaningless words which have been of no help to millions all over the world, left to suffer at the hands of the corrupt.

Much of the world still doesn’t have many of those so called human rights and many of the countries that do, are in the process of rapidly losing them as history is rewritten and democracy is overrun by anarchy. We would be wise to stay very alert to the present destruction of democracy.

Historically, rights have only ever been the realm of the strong, who would take what they wanted for themselves and everybody else would do what they could to get what they could either by aligning with them or fighting them. To the winner the spoils. The toughest individuals led the tribes, and tribes did what they were told until someone bigger and stronger came along and then the tribe followed them. Keeping it simple, the leader granted what rights they chose to grant. Nobody had any automatic rights. They got what they could forcibly take or what they could negotiate from the current leader.

Have we really changed much at all? Aren’t rights just a form of tradeable currency which the strong take then trade off to remain strong and retain control?

The only rights any of us have are those that whoever controls them is willing to let us have. We need to think long and hard about that when we reflect on freedom of speech, a free media and many of the other simple “rights” we take for granted.

The government’s COVID-19 response should sound very loud alarm bells for every one of us.

You could call it a simple Captain’s call or you could argue that something had to be done to save the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealanders.

Either way:

  • All of our rights were summarily suspended
  • The Government actively selected who would be the winners (by granting of rights)
  • Those granted rights were privileged
  • Those not granted rights were left at the mercy of government grants
  • Many of our citizens remain at the mercy of government for their survival. What rights do they have?

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I've worked in media and business for many years and share my views here to generate discussion and debate. I once leaned towards National politically and actually served on an electorate committee once, but the party lost its way and is still lost in the wilderness. Nearly voted Labour once when Roger Douglas was Minister of Finance. I could never see my way clear to voting for NZ First for many reasons but I'm far from committed to one party or one set of views. Years ago I supported Bob Jones and the New Zealand Party and a quest for change and I have voted for Act more than once. Today, politically I don't have a natural home - so I have an open mind.